By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(July 9, 2020) The Berlin Historic District Commission unanimously approved the requests for an exterior renovation of a one-bedroom garage and guesthouse at 19 S. Main Street last Wednesday, with the window frames painted a different color.
The meeting was a continuation of a June 3 session, when the commission asked homeowners Daniel and Denise Gauger to return with a detailed landscaping plan and a list of the proposed materials to be used to restore the historic integrity of the garage.
The Gaugers previously told the commission that they were not advised that they were buying in the historic district.
Last week, the Gaugers presented a white garage with black shutters and dark-framed windows, flower boxes and gardening.
“I know there’s one project that … a few years ago we approved black shutters for their home, so I can’t see a reason why we couldn’t approve it for [the Gaugers], and this is on a house that’s behind the main house,” said Vice-Chairman Robert Poli.
Poli suggested that the shutters should match the door.
The architectural design depicts an overhang on the roof of the garage, which does not exist. Poli added that this will not change because the Gaugers already put a new roof on the garage.
In addition, the windows currently are not full divided light windows as drawn.
Councilmember Mary Moore characterized the design as “very commercial.”
Councilmember Laura Stearns argued that the garage is too contemporary for the style of the main house.
“Here’s what I was trying to get across the last time. The problem that I have with it is that it does not go with the house in front of it,” Stearns said. “The house in front is a Craftsman.”
Stearns said the garage should have white windows to match the style of the house.
The commission agreed that the windows should be painted white and approved the submitted drawings.
Following the approval of the garage plans, the commission unanimously approved the proposed sign for the first Dolle’s Candyland in Berlin at 1 S. Main Street Unit B.
The round hanging sign will be 30-by-30 inches and painted green. It will be attached to the exterior brick wall with a 39.5-inch black bracket.
During the time for comments from the commissioners, Moore asked what action can be taken to avoid having another couple, like the Gaugers, unaware that they purchased a house within the historic district.
Planning Director David Engelhart said it would require a text amendment to the town code to require Realtors to inform potential homebuyers about what is within the historic district.
Engelhart said he will contact the Coastal Association of Realtors, so all listing agents in the area must disclose such information as part of standard procedures or bylaws.